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Don’t worry, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I just haven’t blogged in awhile. Truth be told, it’s not because I haven’t been cooking- it’s because I’ve been cooking too much. I wanted to get in a few more cooking days before university started up again, and I’ve been meaning to blog about the things done on these days, but, you know, sometimes sleep wins over computer time.
Then, uni started, and I’ve been trying to get in the swing of classes, and figure out when my actual spare time (aka- time outside of classes not occupied by reading textbooks or writing papers), lies. Yet, I’ve somehow still found a lot of time to cook, just not to blog. And I’ve found time to spend perusing health food stores. Hey Reginans out there- the guy at Eat Healthy Foods bought his family’s farm, and next summer, he’s gonna get a bunch of awesome produce in all the time. Its like a farmer’s marked that runs every day, and is open late! Oh, and the Earth Balance shortage in Regina is over! Yeah, that’s right, there was a city-wide shortage of vegan butter substitute. No, the vegans didn’t attack the stores in one fell swoop; the manufacturer that was supplying our city shut down, and all the stores had to find new suppliers. So, I finally got to taste Earth Balance for the first time. It’s good, but I still tend not to use much; I never was a daily consumer of butter or margarine. Can’t wait until Christmas, though, when I can use it to make whipped shortbread!
So, here’s a catch-up recipe. When I took the picture, I had actually created the freshrolls via fridge raid, so there’s a few variations on my usual recipe, but the usual recipe is below. We had these gorgeous farmers’ market cukes that needed eating, so instead of adding lettuce, I added lots more cucumber than usual, and omitted the lettuce. I also found some leftover cooked tofu from another night which I chose to use instead of making the tofu in this recipe. Also, I didn’t technically use rice vermicelli- I found this green bean and pea flour vermicelli that I had to try instead. It tasted very similar, but had a slipperier texture, disintegrated less easily, and looked like fiber-optics when wet. Here’s a close-up.
Simple Fresh Rolls
(Quantities of each ingredient will really depend on how much you intent to make, and what you have on hand, so I’m kinda stumped on giving you exact measurements, here. I’ll try, but don’t follow these too closely! Besides, this is a great recipe for improvising.)
- extra firm tofu, about 1/2 block, cut into thin slices
- sauce to cook tofu in, if you don’t want to use plain tofu (I use about a 2 tbsp tamari soy, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2tsp of some form of sweetener, and sometimes fresh grated ginger)
- grated carrot, preferably not the flavourless baby carrots, maybe one cup?
- thinly sliced cucumber, maybe one cup?
- shredded lettuce, or cabbage, or something else leafy- a cup at least
- cooked rice (or other flour) vermicelli, cut into short pieces, about 2 cups
- thinly sliced water chestnuts, about 1/2 cup
- any other personal favourite veggies, or maybe some cilantro, if you’re in to that (oh, is my dislike of cilantro showing?)
- rice paper rounds (comes in a large package that’s more than enough. Maybe make sure you have at least ten or more before starting)
- dipping sauce of your choice (optional, however home-made peanut sauce is a tasty choice)
1.) Prep the veg and noodles while cooking your tofu. In a non-stick pan (or a regular pan with a little oil), brown your tofu strips or cubes, then add sauce and allow to simmer, and reduce if necessary. Keep all of the ingredients neatly organized and ready to be assembled.
2.) Boil some water. In a round cake pan, or other large, shallow tray, pour some boiling water, and add cold water until it’s just touchable. Submerge a rice paper sheet, and let soak for 30 seconds. Carefully remove without letting it overlap on itself, and allow it to drip off briefly. Place on flat surface. Arrange a little of each filling item centered near the top of the roll. (It will take some practice to get the quantities right. I add lots of rice noodles myself. In the end, the rolls will work best if they’re well-filled, but overfilling is also a risk.) Roll up tightly like a burrito with both ends closed. This will take a few tries if it’s your first time, but you will get the hang of it. Set finished roll aside.
3.) Repeat the whole soaking and rolling process until you have enough fresh rolls, or use up your ingredients. You will have to add more hot water with each roll, by the way. If the water at all, this doesn’t work.
4.) Eat. Share, maybe, if you’re feeling generous. Note, these don’t keep for extended periods of time- they get rubbery after 8-5 hours, so they’re best consumed asap.
Well, I’m currently baking bread (instead of sleeping), so I’ve got some spare time to blog while surrounded by delicious smells. I’m sorry If I’m not entirely staying on one topic here, but I promise there will actually be a short recipe at the end.
I continued a hunt for Earth Balance in my little city, which I have yet to procure. Instead of going to the nearby health food store, I went to one downtown, which I have been to previously, but not since I’ve chosen to be vegan. Anyway, long story short, they were out of Earth Balance, but had plenty of other things on hand to distract me. I picked up some figs, as I’ve never tasted fresh figs before, some little tiny golden plums (with the hopes of them tasting like plums are actually supposed to), and some fair trade Coco Camino Espresso dark chocolate (after having read a post by Sinead) that was surprisingly affordable in comparison to other specialty chocolates.
I also got a home-made vegan ginger spice cookie, and a drink, and sat down to a snack on the bench in front of the store, accompanied by this flower.
OK, now that I’m done with that happy little vegan adventure, on to a quick recipe, which I’ve been intending to throw up here, but haven’t taken any pics for. It’s great for both snacks or breakfasts.
Banana Nut Tortillas
spoonful powdered flax
agave nectar (optional)
So easy. Spread almond butter on tortilla, break banana into pieces and place on tortilla, sprinkle with flax seed to add some more goodness, and if you wish, drizzle with a little agave nectar, roll up well, and either toast in a toaster oven (about the same length of time as it takes to make a piece of toast), or throw in a nonstick fry pan over mediumish heat with the seam down, turning to get both sides crispy. So easy, it fits into one (run on) sentence. (I will regret this later, when I’m less tired, and the English minor in me starts screaming at the terrible things I’ve done to the English language here.)